We all have days when we feel super demotivated and unproductive. I have my share of such days too. It usually happens after we come back from a long trip or if I am getting back to work after a break. And earlier these days used to stretch over a week or two sometimes before I could figure out the reason and make necessary changes.
But with my new productivity system I get over these unproductive days quickly. And this productivity system makes use of Bullet Journal or Bujo. I have started using a few spreads in my BUJO that help me kick back into my productive self as quickly as possible. I have tried quite a few spreads actually but I am mentioning only those which have helped me and proven useful.
EVERYTHING YOU NEED:
Before we start, here are all the tools that I use for Bullet Journalling:
- This is the bullet journal I use : I really like this quality of this Menorah Bullet journal that I got from Amazon. The pen does not bleed through the pages and I love the compact size of this journal. I got this for 3rd time in a row and it is super affordable too.
- Next up is Pens: I swear by these Sakura micron Pens. Since you usually have a small space to write and I love the look of a neat and organised Bujo, I use the Sakura Micron pens. Your regular gel pens don’t quite work in bullet Journals because they take time to dry and hence are easy to smudge but these micron pens are a life saver.
- I use these sharpies for decorating my Bullet journal : I love that they are quite fine and are perfect for Bullet Journalling.
1. TIME LOG SPREAD:
Coming onto Productivity spreads, the first spread that I absolutely love is a Time Log spread. Because before we can start managing our time, we need to understand where our time actually goes. This spread puts things into a perspective for me, because it gives me a very clear idea of where I am wasting my time.
It is pretty much like the screen time app on your iphone which tells you on which apps you spend most your time, but you do it manually. You could also use apps on your phone like atimelogger which is available for both iphone and android.
But I avoid using my phone because it is so easy to get sucked into the scrolling game.
Now, you don’t want to be tracking every single minute, of course, because that in itself is time consuming. But tracking hours is a great start. So every hour you track what you spend your time on. You can make as many categories as you need. I usually do this for 2-3 days and in these 2-3 days I am able to see where I am wasting my time and what changes need to be made.
I like using different colors for different categories because it makes it easy to see where most of your time is going, once you have filled it out.
2.Daily & Weekly reviews:
I used to hate doing daily reviews because I thought it was a waste of my time. But over time I have grown to love them. Mainly because daily reviews help me refocus my time and energy every single day. And I don’t waste an entire week doing things that are not working for me.
So usually at the end of the day, I set at my desk or in my bed, with my Bujo. I take 10 minutes and go over my to-do list. I see what all I got done and what I couldn’t do. And then I take a look at my time logger to see where I wasted my time. Time that could have been used to get tasks done.
At this point I will also go over and make my to-do list for the next day. This is amazing because when you already have a to-do list made, you can start working on it directly.
Weekly Reviews are great because they help you plan out the coming week in advance learning from things that did not work fro you this week.
In a way, Daily review and Weekly review are pretty similar to what review meetings look like in a corporate setup, with the exception being that here you are reviewing yourself.
I have a dedicated page for Brain Dump each month. On this page I write whatever comes to my mind. It could be anything ranging from booking an appointment to a blogpost idea. This helps me in keeping all my thoughts in one place. And later, while making my to-do lists for the week or the day I can check what things can I do from this page.
I absolutely love this spread because it helps me keep all my thoughts and ideas in one place. But I do have a system for brain dump too. I do it in categories. I have categories called “Content Creation Ideas”, “to-do”, notes and thoughts.
This way I can refer back to my brain dump spread and schedule my to-dos over the coming weeks. Or whenever I am looking for new blogpost ideas, I go back to the content creation ideas section. It is very similar to Pinterest where you Pin all the ideas that you like or that you might want to try.
4. TIME BLOCKING:
This goes amazingly well with vertical daily layouts. It’s pretty similar to your usual agendas. Remember how agendas use time blocking for you to write any important tasks for the day? It works in a similar way. So instead of writing “Buy Groceries”, dedicate a time block to that particular activity.
There is in line with Parkinson’s Law, which says that work expands in order to fill the time available for its completion. Which essentially means that if you give yourself 2 hours to do something, chances are it will take you two hours. But if you give yourself 4 hours to do something, the same work will not get done in 2 hours and it will take 4 hours instead.
That’s why it’s a great idea to use time blocks. Like we used to have periods in school for different subjects. try allocating times to different activities. And when you are starting an activity, set yourself a “half-time” timer which will push you to be more productive and get the work done.
Of course you don’t have to do this everyday but I love this for days when I am feeling super lazy and unproductive because it’s almost like a little game.
5. 15 Minute Tasks List:
We all have these breaks between work calls or meetings and to make the most out of these breaks, I use a spread that has everything that can be done in 15 minutes. Because if you are not intentional with your time, you will most probably end up wasting it scrolling through social media.
But it doesn’t mean that you work in breaks too. These 15 minute tasks can be small tasks that make you happy or that relaxes you. I work from home and I used to find balancing cleaning the house and working on the blog a difficult thing to do. But then I started this 15 minute tasks list.
So whenever I am taking a break from my blog, I spend 15 minutes cleaning and organising the house in general, which works for me because I love cleaning.
It could be something else for you. Do you find it hard to find time to read? Maybe use these 15 minute breaks to get some reading done. You could even indulge in some self care in these 15 minutes. Put on a face mask, oil your hair, play with your dog, maybe even practise some guided meditation?
And it’s not just for people who work from home. Even for people who have corporate jobs, maybe you can tale 15 minutes to go for a little walk. Or enjoy a cup of tea or coffee. Or if you are feeling stressed at work, you can even try some breathing exercises right at your desk.
The whole idea is to have a list of things that can be done in 15 minutes and then make use of those 15 minute breaks to squeeze in things that you think you need on a particular day.
6. Log-ins & Passwords:
I can’t recommend this spread enough. it saves me so much time I can’t even tell you. I am not someone who remembers all their usernames and passwords simply because as a blogger the number of platforms you have accounts on, is absurd. So in order to save myself time and the stress, I keep all my log-ins and passwords in my BUJO. Every time I forget a password, I don’t have to click “forgot my password” and then go to my mail to reset. it’s just an added step and I am glad I don’t have to do it. I used to absolutely hate it.
But if you are someone who takes their Bullet journal everywhere with them, it’s better to not have all those details in your Bujo. Just write them in a diary or something that you can keep handy and that you don’t take with you when you go out.
Ask anyone what is the number one thing that helps them be more productive and a majority of people will say “routines”. I know it sounds a little boring and I have such a hard time in sticking to routines, but it’s still a really good practice. Over the years I have worked really hard on building a morning and night routine for myself and now, it works effortlessly for me. But I still write down a “routines” spread in my BUJO.
Of course I don’t always stick to the routine because Hello! I am human. But it’s a good idea to list down all the things that you want to be doing during a particular time of the day. I have 4 routines in my Bujo: Morning, Night, Afternoon, Grocery.
Yes I do have a grocery routine because I love washing everything and putting it away nicely in the refrigerator or pantry. I am not one of those people who buy groceries and never put them away. I hate cluttered kitchen counter tops. And it’s a big routine because we buy a lot of greens and you need to wash and chop all the greens and keep them nicely in storage bags. I also clean out my pantry and fridge while restocking things. i take a quick scan and see of something needs to be thrown out.
These are all the Productivity spreads that I have in my BUJO. I do have other Non-Bujo specific productivity tips and hacks too, if you want to check them out.
What are some of your fav productivity tools and hacks? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂